Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Like the rest of you, I was hoping for a better performance certainly, but like most of you, I was also very realistic. Heck, I'm the one who flat out said I thought UD would lose by double-digits to WVU, so I guess I can't complain, and I won't.
I'll give Kansas and Bill Self a lot of credit. They certainly didn't underestimate UD's athleticism, and they challenged every shot the Flyers took. I tend to agree with the comment in the post below about Bill Self being the best coach (or one of the best) in the nation. He certainly has done a remarkable job this year, especially when you consider everything they lost after winning the title last season.
Now back to the Flyers. I really don't care what the final score was today, or how poorly the team shot from the field (22.2%). By any standard, this season was a huge success.
-The team had 27 wins, including solid regular season victories over Marquette and Xavier.
-Dayton made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 5 years
-The team won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 19 years
Those three things alone make it a great season, particularly the last one. Plus, with only Charles Little graduating, you have to feel good about next season as well.
Sure it sucks to lose today, but I'm really not that broken up about it. I've already switched into the "Let's be happy for what this team achieved, and let's get geared up for a great run next season" mode.
Congrats to the Flyers on a great year, and here's to more success in 2009-2010.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
To get a feel for the biggest game in the history of college basketball (no hyperbole on this blog), I did the whole Q&A thing with Cory Brenneman of Rock Chalk Talk. Check out their site here if you wanted to see what a real blog's supposed to look like as opposed to this shady operation. It's kind of embarrassing really. I asked questions that I thought might make me sound either funny or smart, and Cory was gracious enough to humor me with answers. If you want to find out that Tyrel Reed is the name of a white guy, how a kid from Kansas with a dream could have gone so terribly, terribly wrong, and how many pancakes Mark Mangino eats in one sitting, read on my friends. Read on.
Peanut Butter and a Blanket: So we all know KU won it all last year. Then the team lost its top three players to the NBA. How much of a rebuilding year did you expect this to be? And how pleased are KU fans to have won the Big 12 and earned a 3 seed in this tournament?
Cory Brenneman: Actually, we lost more than just the top three. We lost all 5 starters, and the second guy off of our bench. Really, in what was a 7-man rotation we basically had, we are returning one player (Sherron Collins), plus the 8th member who saw, at most, 4 minutes a game (Cole Aldrich). So, yes, this was definitely a planned rebuilding year. Despite the notorious Final Four-or-bust expectations at the basketball bluebloods, like Kansas, we all are very impressed. I did a post at the beginning of conference play, trying to convince some people that, if everything broke right, we could maybe tie Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. So, we've come quite far. However, now that we're here, we aren't just willing to settle. This season is already a success, in my mind, but that doesn't mean that we don't want more. Realistically, once we saw the brackets the goal became the Sweet 16. It won't be easy, but it's feasible.
PBB: What were the reasonable expectations for this year's Kansas squad? I think there is a chance (not sure how large) that UD will be content or complacent just to have gone this far. I take it KU fans don't have that same concern?
CB: The goals for most Kansas fans, me included, saw a Top 4 finish in the Big 12 and a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament. Maybe, if we improved a bunch, we could win a game in the Tournament. If you were a big dreamer back in November, you thought the Sweet 16 was the ultimate goal. This season has, obviously, already passed those expectations, and is already, in my mind, a success. But this is still Kansas, and they won't be willing to settle with a single victory. Even in such a rebuilding year, a 2nd round upset wouldn't look good in the history books of Kansas, where, in 10 years, would forget this was a senior-less team. With Sherron Collins leading the way, I doubt we'll be truly satisfied until we are cutting down the nets for the second year in a row. Obviously, there is an infentesimal chance of this actually occurring, but that's the mindset of this team.
PBB: What kind of defense does Bill Self like to play? Dayton is a pretty poor outside shooting team. Do you expect we'll see any zone tomorrow?
CB: Bill Self is a disciple, of sorts, of Larry Brown. And just like Brown, Self is extremely stubborn in his M2M defense. Now, we play it just about as well as anyone in the country (maybe not this year, but we had the best Adj. Defense in the country the two years prior to this one), so there isn't too much to complain about. But it took a 14-point deficit before we switched defenses against Texas a couple of weeks ago, and that's a team with all of one good outside shooter. So, bet your bank account we start out the game in M2M, and we likely won't switch out of it unless it gets ugly. Then, Self will be willing to switch it up, with his favorites being the Triangle-and-2 and the Box-and-1. Rarely, if ever, do we go to a pure 2-3 zone.
PBB: Does Sherron Collins have to be KU's primary ball handler, or can any other players help him out at the point and at least help him get the ball over half court? Dayton will press and try to wear Collins down over the course of 40 minutes. He already plays 35 minutes per, so do you see this strategy being effective?
CB: Sherron Collins is definitely our point guard, but he actually rarely brings the ball up the floor. Tyshawn Taylor or Tyrel Reed almost always are tasked with dribbling the ball up, then (usually) handing it off to Sherron at the top of the key to get our offense into action. This is all, as you said, an effort to limit the pressure Sherron faces, so he can play more minutes. If you press, I imagine he will bring it up more, because we trust him more than our other ballhandlers, but it still won't be a whole lot. We have fared terribly, by-and-large, against the press all year, so yes, I think a press would be a brilliant strategy for Gregory. We just can't handle it, for whatever reason.
PBB: The Flyers have some sick athletes. After the WVU win, Bob Huggins made a comment that he didn't think his players realized just how athletic Dayton is from watching them on film. No way we have better athletes than KU, right? And no way KU is surprised by Dayton's athleticism, right? Right?!?
CB: This year, we will probably be out-athleted by you guys. We've been out-athleted a couple of times already this season, which is definitely a new thing for us Kansas fans. We primarily go with a 8-man rotation, and two of those are white kids from smalltowns in Kansas (Brady Morningstar is from Lawrence, which isn't that small, while Tyrel Reed is from a 2,000-person town) that aren't all that good of athletes. We still have some athletic freaks (Tyshawn Taylor, Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins), but not nearly as many as you're used to seeing, and it pales in comparison to last year's team. But, to answer your other question, I doubt we'll be surprised. Self isn't the best coach (well, at least we think so) in the country for nothing, and he's getting them prepared as we speak, I'm sure, for Chris Wright and Company. Particularly with the pair of embarrassing end-of-season losses to Texas Tech and Baylor, this team is incredibly focused. There will be no overlooking.
PBB: Say Kansas center Cole Aldrich gets his 15 and 10, but the Flyers hold Collins below his scoring average, who is the next most likely Jayhawk to step up and make me hate him and his family for the rest of his life?
CBB: There are two answers. All year long, the third scorer has been the key to any success we have, but it's never been one person. However, there are two main culprits: Marcus Morris and Tyshawn Taylor. Morris is a 6'7" freshman who plays the 4. He struggled a bunch at the beginning of the year, and still isn't a solid lowpost offensive threat, but he will kill you on the offensive glass. Taylor (guard) is much more likely to explode, though. He reminds me a lot of a freshman Sherron Collins: will make plenty of stupid plays, including his mandatory once-a-game travel when he slips on the floor, and isn't a consistent shooter, but can get to the bucket with ease and makes enough threes to make you respect the shot.
PBB: Dayton goes really deep. You will see at least 10 guys play tomorrow, if not 11. How deep do the Jayhawks go, and is UD's depth a concern at all?
CB: Our rotation is very nebulous. We have a core rotation of 8 players, all of which will see plenty of action. However, two others have seen some PT as a part of the rotation at times, particularly Travis Releford. So, if I had to guess, I'd say that we'll play 9 players tomorrow. Dayton's depth shouldn't cause us any problems, but it just takes away the advantage we've had over most teams, including North Dakota State on Friday morning. We're used to being able to throw out more bodies than the opponent, and while I think we can handle the other team having more options to go to, we will lose our advantage.
PBB: Got anybody who matches up well with Chris Wright? Which Kansas defender will be the given the task of stopping him from getting to the rack and dunking in your grill all game long?
CB: No. I'm angry about it, too. It will have to be the Morrises (Marcus has a twin brother, Markieff) and Mario Little, I suppose. All are newcomers this year, though, and none of them are all-that-good defensively. There should be plenty of doubling when Wright takes the ball down low, but I imagine that they will often be left on an island. If they can perform admirably out there, then we should be in good shape. If not, as I'm expecting, then it should be a close game throughout.
PBB: How is KU overall as a defensive team, especially regarding stopping dribble penetration?
CB: We're good. Not as good as usual, but still 14th in the country. As of late, though, we've struggled a bunch with dribble penetration, and that could give us some trouble. Ben Woodside of NDSU had no trouble getting into the lane time-after-time, which was very disconcerting. If I were Self, I'd back off your guards (particularly London Warren), since they are poor three-point shooters. We'll see how we defend, though, and if we play tight M2M, you all shouldn't have too much trouble getting into the lane.
PBB: You run a Kansas blog and, I'm assuming here, live somewhere in that state. Yet you are going to Xavier next year. Why? Do you hate me? Hate yourself? Love ugly, white chicks? Explain your reasoning if you'd be so kind.
CB: I grew up in Kansas, yes, but have since moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and now currently live in California. I wanted to head back towards the midwest for college, and didn't want to go to Kansas. I came up with a list of requirements for my college: small, less than 10,000, D-1 basketball program (preferrably a good one) and a Sports Management Major, because that's what I want to do after college. Xavier showed up on the list, and I liked the research I did. So no, no hate is involved.
PBB: You have the misfortune of being entered in a pancake-eating contest with Mark Mangino. He sees you and immediately spots you 30 pancakes just to make things "fair." You have 15 minutes to eat as many as possible (butter, maple syrup, washing them down with your drink of choice are all legal). What's the final tally?
CB: I would lose. That's all you need to know.
PBB: KU wins if:
CB: If the Morrises play well and we hit our threes. Those are the two keys, to me, of any potential game, particularly in games against teams like Dayton. With how tough your defense is, we will have to hit our open perimeter shots or we won't score that often. And the Morris twins absolutely must at least handle Chris Wright, or we could be toast. Plus, we need their extra offensive rebounds and second-chance points to round out our offensive attack.
PBB: Dayton shocks the world if:
CB: The above doesn't happen? I'll also say that we'll lose if Sherron Collins wants to win it all by himself. He is incredible, and we wouldn't have made the Tournament without him, but sometimes he takes too much of the load on his own shoulders and tries and single-handedly shoot his way to a victory. It rarely ends well for us.
PBB: Give us a prediction on the final score and the player of the game.
CB: My favorite player will come up huge, Marcus Morris, and he will do a fine job on Chris Wright. He will also provide plenty of offensive rebounds and things, and he'll come out of nowhere. Still, Cole Aldrich is the Player of the Game because Dayton has no answer for his massive frame. Plus, dude's playing 10 minutes from his house. Gotta represent in front of the fam.
Kansas wins, 72-61, in a defensive struggle. Dayton can't shoot well enough to hang with Kansas, though.
Posted by KPS at 3:34 PM
I honestly had no idea what to title this post. I thought about calling it, "Holy shit we just won an NCAA Tournament game," which is a text message I either sent or received about a dozen times yesterday. After struggling to find the word(s), I decided that "wow" would sum it up just fine. So much has already been said about yesterday's win, so there isn't a whole lot for me to add. But I'll give you a few things:
Bob Huggins is a really good basketball coach, but that was not his finest hour. A lot of people will chalk it up to Huggins being a choker in the Tournament, but let's not forget that he was 13-3 in the NCAA First Round and 13-1 all time against UD going into yesterday's game. Dude can coach, but he made some head-scratching decisions yesterday. Most notably, leaving Ruoff in with three fouls so he could pick up his fourth with 18:00 to go. Having the other team's best shooter on the bench for 10+ minutes in the second half sure didn't hurt the Flyers.
Also, Tom over at the Blackburn Review alluded to this but didn't actually say it. I just got the feeling that West Virginia heard we had some sick athletes and thought, "Shit we play Louisville, UConn and Pitt every week. We see athletes every night in the Big East. We ain't worried 'bout it." Then Chris Wright dunked on them again and again and again and, before you knew it, it was 27 points and 10 boards en route to a big fat mother-fucking Flyers W.
"I don't know after watching them on film that our guys knew they were as explosive as they were," Huggins said. To me, that's like saying, "We knew but we didn't really know till it was too late."
From the game recap, "Wright's fifth dunk of the game, a LeBron-like hammer in transition, punctuated Dayton's first NCAA tournament win since an 88-86 triumph over Illinois in the first round in 1990."
Read that again and tell me that the words "Lebron-like," "Dayton," and "NCAA tournament win" all being in the same sentence and it actually making sense doesn't cause you to tear up a little.
I was talking about text messages earlier. If a chick you haven't talked to since you graduated UD texts you, "Are you watching this game?" ... What is an appropriate response? Is, "No, dumb bitch, I only went to every single home game at UD for four fucking years and about 15 road games. I now watch the majority of UD games these days on a tiny-ass laptop with the fuzziest picture you can imagine. BUT, now that we're in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 and playing on CBS, I decided to sit this one out." okay? What about, "Any chance you dropped 20 pounds and now live in the greater Cincinnati area?"?
And finally, it is rarely pretty but it has been effective 27 times this year. "There's times that we don't play very well," Gregory said. "But we never back down."
That's so key, the not backing down part. I'm so used to Dayton teams coming out like we did against Tulsa in that infamous 13-over-4 upset. The Flyers look scared shitless to be under the bright lights and on the big stage; then by time they recover, it's too late. They've dug themselves too deep a hole to climb out of. Yesterday, the only hole was a 3-2 deficit. After that, the boys in red never trailed. In what were arguably the two biggest games of the season (X at home and yesterday), UD was behind for a total of about 30 seconds. That's just how we do, I guess.
Anyway, I have a lot more to say but I don't even really remember it all. Still flying high from that one. We're also working on a KU preview. Look for that coming up early this evening.
Posted by KPS at 1:02 PM
Friday, March 20, 2009
I'm at work, so I can't really live blog. But I'll check in and invite you to leave comments to this post. If anyone wants to step up and live blog, knock yourself out.
I'll try to provide comments at each media timeout, provided my boss isn't looking over my shoulder.
Halftime: UD Leads 33-28
-I'll take it. Low scoring, always good for Dayton.
-I missed most of the final 8 minutes because of work stuff. I'll try to do better in the second half.
-Going back and looking at the stats, it looks like Chris Wright really picked it up down the stretch. He's at 11 points and 6 boards at halftime. More of the same could help UD to an upset.
Fourth Media Timeout: 3:47 to play, UD Leads 28-22
-Didn't see much. Work stuff.
Third Media Timeout: 7:38 to play, UD Leads 21-15
-Little back in, no worries there.
-Not a pretty game, big time favors Dayton.
-WVU is shooting about 30% so far.
Second Media Timeout: 11:15 to play, UD Leads 16-12
-Johnson with 8 points early, good start for him.
-WVU has been to the free throw line six times, UD has not been there yet.
-Chris Wright has two turnovers, not a good start for him.
First Media Timeout: 15:05 to play, UD leads 9-8.
-Little left with an injury, although doesn't look major.
-Pace favors Dayton so far, but a bad turnover let WVU get an easy two.
-UD doing a solid job on the boards early.
We interrupt your NCAA madness to bring you this bit of news about the University of Dayton Flyers:
In the least surprising news of the day, the Flyers extend Brian Gregory's contact for another five years beyond the current deal, which was already through 2013. So he's now locked up through 2018 (verbal agreement so far, financials after the season ends).
I would imagine this is primarily an insurance policy on both sides. Gregory has the long-term contract that every coach wants, and he can sell that to recruits. UD will probably include some clause about if Gregory gets offered jobs at bigger programs, then they get something in return.
Not really a major story in my opinion, but it's definitely worth noting.
Please feel free to return to your madness as we are about six hours away from tip-off.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
No pictures. I put my camera away after the stop at Panera.
Greetings from Menomonie, Wis., which I didn't know existed until an hour ago. The Future Mrs. and I have stopped here, roughly 90 minutes from the Metrodome, for the night. We'll be up extra early tomorrow and on our way to Bloomington, where our hotel for Friday night is, then it's on to the Dome.
I still don't have a feeling for the game. This won't be my first NCAA tournament game in person, but it is my first UD tournament game. I want them to win, obviously, and I think they can. But I know deep down WVU may be better. I just want both games I see (NDSU/KU and UD/WVU) to be close and entertaining. And a Flyer win would just be fucking fantastic.
I'll try to post again after the game.
Posted by Uncreative Commuter at 11:15 PM
Greetings from Arlington Heights, Ill., where the Future Mrs. and I have stopped from lunch (Panera, bitches. Try the tomato soup.) We left suburban Columbus at 8:45 a.m. and our GPS said the trip to Minnesota would take more than 12 hours (the arrival time is CST). We may not make it all the way today, but we're going to get close.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Okay, I've been slacking on this blog, maybe worse than anyone. So let's see what everyone thinks. This is the official first round predictions thread. I want only a prediction for the final score of Friday's game against West Virginia. You can be realistic, you can be a homer, just tell me what you think.
West Virginia 72, Dayton 61
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Posted by Uncreative Commuter at 11:06 AM
The entire crew at Peanut Butter and a Blanket is still in "happy mode" about the Flyers making the tournament..that's why there's been no posts lately. I'm sur eour fine staff will have oodles of info to write before Friday's game (Tpoff is @ 3:40 with the venerable Gus Johnson!!!! SCORE)
In the meantime, it's time for our 2nd Annual Peanut Butter and a Blanket Bracket Challenge.
Click the link below to join and compete for the golden jar of jif!
Password: sammy smith
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
For those who watched the Duquesne game from the beginning, I'm sure you vividly remember the opening tip-off for Charles Little on Senior Night. If not, let me refresh your memory..
It looked very similar to a play that was run for another senior on his final night off the tipoff in 2004 against the Rhode Island Rams. That senior's name, Frank Igoudala. and so the lore of Frank Igoudala continues for another generation
Saturday, March 7, 2009
"I tell you what, the big fella's got me a little excited, too." - Bucky Bockhorn
Posted by Stonemill at 8:53 PM
Friday, March 6, 2009
- The game probably doesn't mean much in terms of the NCAA picture. It's just a loss to a ranked team on the road.
- UD still controls its destiny in terms of getting an A-10 bye.
- None of the players got hurt.
- Marcus Johnson (19 points) Charles Little (11) and Chris Wright (10) tried.
- The game was over early enough so that I could watch my DVR'd episode of 30 Rock.
- Kurt Huelsman: I'm done explaining it.
- Luke Fabrizius: When the Flyers need him to play minutes that matter (10 last night) they'd fucked. Xavier puts a rock in the locker of the player who its coaching staff deems did not do a good job "defending the rock." Fabrizius should have a road cone in his locker today because that's all he was defensively.
- Every time the Flyers made a run, they'd do something stupid. Whether it was a bad offensive possession capped with a shot that had no chance of going in or playing 35 seconds of good defense only to give up an offensive rebound, whatever the worst thing they could do was they did.
- The pregame bullshit. You haven't won at Xavier since Jimmy Fucking Carter was in office. Shut the fuck up.
- The bench points? Xavier 31, UD 16. Ugh.
- Second-chance scoring? Xavier 26, UD 7. Fucking seven.
- Watching Xavier cut down the nets after another A-10 title.
- Foul trouble: Huelsman wasted no time getting into foul trouble and Chris Wright and London Warren was on the bench too much as well. I felt UD got almost all of the close calls when it came to charges/blocks when Xavier was at UD Arena. Xavier got all of them last night.
- And, yes, the uniforms. It was fitting they wore black because they played like they were at a fucking funeral. I don't care if the players like them or not. Fucking burn them, scoop up the ashes and bury them 20 feet underground and never speak about them again.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
I have to admit that I am excited about UD's chances at Xavier this week. That's a big thing for me to admit, seeing how I am the most negative fan I know.
But there is one thing I'm not excited about.
I have no inside information, but I'm pretty sure this awful thing is going to be debuted on Thursday in front of a national television audience. There's no way UD would wear anything unusual on Senior Day, so that just leaves the Xavier game.
I get it, really. Try to do something different to try to break the losing streak that lasts longer than I've been alive. I really do.
But this is still just an awful look. I'll obviously want the Flyers to win on Thursday. But I'll hope they'll burn these monstrosities when they get home.
Maybe Gregory should join in and wear all black. Like this...
He couldn't look any worse than Rick Pitino looked recently.